Formation of charmonium states in heavy-ion collisions and thermalization of charm
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We examine the possibility to utilize in-medium charmonium formation in heavy-ion interactions at collider energy as a probe of the properties of the medium. This is possible because the formation process involves recombination of charm quarks which imprints a signal on the resulting normalized transverse momentum distribution containing information about the momentum distribution of the quarks. We have contrasted the transverse momentum spectra of J/ψ, characterized by 〈p T 2〉, which result from the formation process in which the charm quark distributions are taken at opposite limits with regard to thermalization in the medium. The first uses charm quark distributions unchanged from their initial production in a pQCD process, appropriate if their interaction with the medium is negligible. The second uses charm quark distributions which are in complete thermal equilibrium with the transversely expanding medium, appropriate if a very strong interaction between charm quarks and medium exists. We find that the resulting 〈p T 2〉 of the formed J/ψ should allow one to differentiate between these extremes, and that this differentiation is not sensitive to variations in the detailed dynamics of in-medium formation. We include a comparison of predictions of this model with preliminary PHENIX measurements, which indicates compatibility with a substantial fraction of in-medium formation.
PACS.25.75.Nq Quark deconfinement, quark-gluon plasma production, and phase transitions 12.38.-t Quantum chromodynamics
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